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Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has opened an inquiry into potential abuses of the Orphan Drug Act that may have contributed to high prices on commonly used drugs.

In a statement, Grassley said the inquiry is "based on reporting from Kaiser Health News" and strong consumer concern about high drug prices.

"My staff is meeting with interested groups and other Senate staff to get their views on the extent of the problem and how we might fix it," Grassley wrote.

The racial wealth gap has been measured and studied for decades. One fact has remained the same: White families build and accumulate more wealth more quickly than black and brown families do.

President Trump signed two directives on Friday, ordering a review of financial industry regulations known as Dodd-Frank and halting implementation of a rule that requires financial advisers to act in the best interests of their clients, according to a senior administration official who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity.

Trump himself made his intentions clear in a meeting with small business owners Monday. "Dodd-Frank is a disaster," Trump said. "We're going to be doing a big number on Dodd-Frank."

KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Environmental groups say the incoming Trump administration could quickly wipe out years of work to protect America's land, air and water. But for many green groups, there's been a silver lining: Money and volunteers have poured in since the November election.


In late October, just weeks ahead of the election, President-elect Donald Trump made a quick detour to Washington for the official opening of his new five-star hotel, just a few blocks from the White House.

Millions of U.S. workers will get a raise on New Year's Day, as more than a dozen states increase their minimum wage. That will include thousands of people across Washington.

The Great Recession ended 7 1/2 years ago, and job gains have been steady since, but greater demand for workers is only starting to increase pay.

The increases are still relatively modest, and the data are still mixed. In October, for example, the Labor Department reported average hourly earnings increased at a 2.8 percent rate — the highest since mid-2009, but wage growth slowed in November. A separate report this month showed the cost of labor — another measure of wage growth — increased especially during the spring of this year.

The monks at Assumption Abbey in Ava, Mo., were making concrete blocks when Father Cyprian Harrison joined the order in 1965. As demand for the blocks waned, the order explored other options to support the men who call the cloistered monastery home.

"After a lot of inner reflection, we decided [to get out of the concrete block business and start making] fruitcake. We only had to change the recipe a little," quips Harrison.

When you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.

Donald Trump has proposed a very detailed tax plan — but his statements on the campaign trail don't always match what his proposal would really do.

For instance, at a rally in Scranton, Pa., Trump promised to "massively cut taxes for the middle class, the forgotten people, the forgotten men and women of this country, who built our country." During a town hall meeting on NBC's Today show, he said he believes in raising taxes on the wealthy.

Life is pretty busy for Mike Buchmann, a high school art teacher and football coach, and his wife Shannon, who works as an assistant controller at a small private college near their home in Mishawaka, Ind.

Everyone is out the door by 7:45 each morning: Mike shuttles their two older kids to before-school care, while Shannon drops off their 14-month-old at a church-based child care center before they head off to their full-time jobs.

Pramila Jayapal and Brady Walkinshaw agree on the issues for the most part. Walkinshaw notes that his contributions come mostly from within Washington state; Jayapal rebuts that she is running for national office.
KUOW Photo/Amy Radil

Campaigning before The Breakfast Group, a civic organization for African-American men, Brady Piñero Walkinshaw admitted that they had a choice between “two great progressives.”

He was referring to himself – a state representative from Capitol Hill – and Pramila Jayapal, state senator from Columbia City.

The Clinton Foundation and the Trump Foundation have similar-sounding names. And they've both become political targets in this election cycle. Beyond that, charities experts say, they have remarkably little in common. But the differences between them might reveal something about Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

Basler and Smith campaigns

Democrat Adam Smith of Bellevue is running to keep his seat in Congress, but most of his campaign cash comes not from Washington state but from Washington, D.C., and its suburbs.

Venture Capitalist Nick Hanauer, in his downtown Seattle office.
KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

Millionaire Nick Hanauer is not down with how Donald Trump is skirting his taxes.

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